Having progressed from the rudimentary animal hide and straw heaps, to the elevated platforms introduced by the Egyptians, bedding had evolved manifold by the Medieval times. The ancient Germans slumbered either on the floor covered with leaves that were tucked under animal hide or in a kind of shallow box that was filled with leaves and moss. By the early Middle Ages, they started laying coverings on the floor or on a bench placed against the wall, overlaid with a mattress that was filled with feathers, wool, or hair with the entire assemblage covered under animal hide. Curtains often hung from the ceiling or from an iron frame jutting out of the wall, enclosing the sleeping space.
During the 12th century, lavishness swelled and the incipient bed frames were carved out of wood, further embellished with ornamentation varying from inlays to paint to intricate carvings. Folding beds too came into being, serving the dual purpose of a couch, covered in silks and leather by the day and a bed covered in fine linen with hide covered in white silk, by the night. By the 14th century, the consequentiality of woodwork depreciated, with the luxurious beds being plenarily enveloped within hangings composed of lavish and rich materials, of the likes of silk, velvet or even gold cloth. The 14th century also witnessed the debut appearance of four-poster beds and the very premium feather beds. The bed sizes increased by the 15th century to about 8’ X 7’, and the mattresses were stuffed with feathers, straw or pea-shucks.
The 17th century also addressed to as `the century of magnificent beds’, replaced the curtain envelope around the entire four-poster bed, to just around the head with decorative pillows embellishing the setup. The luxury bedding used by Louis XIV, had rich embroideries bedecked with pearls, and figures embroidered on a gold or silver backdrop. A gorgeous bed from Versailles had its curtains embroidered with `The Triumph of Venus’ on a crimson velvet backdrop, with so much gold used, that the velvet was barely visible. The 18th century saw the introduction of decorative feather pillows first in Germany followed by France in quick succession. Portable beds were quite a rage amongst the high society in France, the earliest one belonging to ‘Charles The Bold’. The 18th century also witnessed the introduction of Iron beds that boasted of an insect free habitat, unlike the wooden beds.
Over the 20th century, luxury bedding evolved quite a bit with the contemporary bedding concepts laying stress on what goes above the bed along with what the bed is made of. 20th century beds incorporate deeply piled comforters, unique luxurious duvet covers and an array of different fabrics that are elegantly designed. What stands out are the vibrant colours, splendid textures, first-rate materials and pleasing themes. The present day bedding, however, has slipped out of its comfortable home environment and stepped into the world of luxury hotels and likes. The Ritz Carlton and Marriott hotels were the first ones to commence the fad of swanky, luxury beds as one of the prime featured amenities provided to the guests. The Ritz-Carlton hotels, in fact, offers their custom-made exclusively designed Sealy Posturepedic Plush bed sets for sale. The Benjamin Hotel in New York, offers you ten pillows to choose from, as you wrap up your day. Westin and Starwood Hotel beds, tailor-made by Simmons, with 900 individual coils and a pillow top mattress, are layered with three bed sheets with a thread count of 180 to 250, a down blanket for every climate type, a comforter in a white duvet, overlaid with five goose down and goose feather pillows, taking luxury to a completely new level. Many others followed the trend making sleep time a memorable affair with their bedrooms well stocked with feather beds, down comforters, plush pillows, and a complete five-star experience.
Whilst some are moving forward, there are others like the Oberoi’s in New Delhi that have taken inspiration from past. The Curzon Suite, for instance, at the Oberoi’s , New Delhi, has a lavish master bedroom with a sumptuous four-poster bed. Hotel Lancaster, a beautiful boutique hotel in Paris has each bedroom exhibiting a luxurious old Parisian aesthetic.
With these continuously evolving trends and the modern bedding moving towards the genre of contemporary, minimalistic culture, yet again redefining the current trends, there is a lot more aesthetic and luxury in store!